If each of us had a crystal ball life would be so simple. And predictable. Without a crystal ball, one thing that isn't predictable is at what age is the best age to drink a favourite wine one may have been saving for a special occasion. A crystal ball would allow one to drink all wine at it's peak, not too late and not too soon either.
Today, I was reminded of my crystal ball/wine theory when a co-worker at TWWIAGE read me an email that she had just received. The gist of the email was this: a man and his wife had recently opened a bottle of TWWIAGE wine for their anniversary. They had owned the wine for at least ten years. The wine was "spoiled" and they were very disappointed. In the interests of good consumer relations, they expected TWWIAGE to make the unhappy situation good by sending them a replacement, gratis, as they were sure that the winery would want them to enjoy TWWIAGE wine at it's most palatable. And by the way, they had poured the wine down the drain and thrown the bottle away.
On hearing this my first reaction was, well, disbelief. It took me a little while to process the absurdity of the situation. What a cheeky request. What if this was a scam? What if this gentleman sent a similar email to 300 Napa Valley wineries and just 10% of those wineries took the bait and sent him a free bottle of wine for fear of getting a bad 'Yelp' review, or something. The whole thing smacked of extortion.
If, on the other hand, the email was legitimate it raised the question: is the wine-drinking public justified in having the expectation that any bottle of wine is guaranteed by a winery indefinitely? To what extent is the consumer responsible for the spoilage of a long cellared bottle of wine? I've racked my brain, but I can't think of any other perishable food item that is guaranteed for life.
A reply email was sent from TWWIAGE apologising for the disappointment caused; inquiring as to what vintage the wine had been, where had it been purchased, but regretfully declining, in the nicest possible way, without the option of the winery being able to do a chemical analysis on the dregs, the expectation that the wine was going to be replaced. Of course, Mr. Cheeky emailed back to say he was astounded that a winery with such a high reputation wouldn't replace his bottle of wine - a bottle that he couldn't prove existed in the first place. Brazen to the last.
I can, however, guarantee that the wine with the grotty cork, in the above photograph, is past it's best. And I decided that without the benefit of a crystal ball. Easy peasy.